Review: Trine 5: A Clockwork Conspiracy does little to change the series’ core formula

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Developed by Frozenbyte and published by THQ Nordic, Trine 5: A Clockwork Conspiracy is as much of a fun mix of platforming and puzzle shenanigans as the other four entries in the series. With nothing changed in terms of gameplay from Trine 4, it still manages to be a quality and at the same time “much of the same” game.

Once again, our lovable trio is thrust into adventure. After finally being honored with the laurels they justly deserve as heroes for their past deeds, they now have to face off against the forces of a devious new ruler whose clockwork armies have taken over the kingdom.

Playing solo, you have the option of controlling all three heroes interchangeably in order to solve different combat and puzzle scenarios. If you manage to round up some friends, each of them can either control one type of character, or, for laughs, up to four copies of one. 

Chivalrous Pontius carries a sword and a shield, which he can use to deflect enemy attacks and even water. Zoya, the thief, can fire arrows and tie ropes that serve as makeshift bridges. And rounding out the team is Amadeus, a bumbling practitioner of magic who can conjure and levitate all manner of objects. 

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Combat is still as fun as it’s always been, regardless of which of the three heroes you might happen to be controlling.

By combining their unique set of skills, or bum-rushing through the game as four of the same hero, you’re given a set of cleverly designed levels to complete, and, as expected, if you’ve played any of the previous Trine games, you’ll once again find that there are multiple approaches to solving them.

The game opens with solo incursions for each of the three archetypes that serve as tutorials before they all finally join up for the main adventure, and it’s from that point on that any sort of multiplayer can take place. While chaotic, having other people join up can be quite enjoyable. 

The fact that the game plays exactly like the previous three doesn’t take away from the otherwise smart level design. In all honesty, I can understand the reasoning behind repeating a cycle that has been going for nearly 15 years at this point, since Trine 5 can be a blast to anyone coming into this series for the first time. 

This game is so much like what came before it that I urge you to go back and read my review of Trine 4. While that issue can be levied against games like Madden and FIFA, there’s something to be said for Trine not being an yearly release. It gives time for there to be a new audience every time a new entry rolls around.

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Make some more friends along the way.

Otherwise, this piece writes itself when it comes to recommending the game. The “if you liked” cliché without a doubt applies to Trine 5: A Clockwork Conspiracy since it’s something that will easily be enjoyed by those who are familiar with the series. And if you’ve never heard of these games until now, it’s still as much of an entry point as any of the previous releases. 

But if you are like me and have played all of what Trine has had to offer up til now and are hoping for some sort of innovation, you’ll be slightly disappointed with the fifth one. Indeed, nothing has changed, but the same can be said about the overall quality of the gameplay. 

Having access to three different characters and how each of them come into play remains a highlight. Outside of Lost Vikings back in the 16-bit days, there’s nothing quite like this in gaming. Let’s just hope for a chance that things might get shaken up a bit by the time Trine 6 rolls around…

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